This week we are delving into Woodlands of Margaret River. An institution in WA wine since 1973 and established by David and Heather Watson, the estate is now largely run by their two sons; Stuart and David Watson.
The Watsons at Woodlands are well-known for producing high quality, classically styled wines, with a particular affinity for chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, this year sees an overhaul of the labels, referencing the regionality of the wines, over the varietal.
Perhaps they may look the same to those who aren’t keen on detail, but look a bit closer and you will notice the ‘sub-region’ of Wilyabrup Valley on the label is prioritised over the varietal listed below it. This is more in line with what we are used to seeing from regions such as Burgundy, who display village and vineyard over varietal. In a New World context, we are free from restrictive planting and production laws, which is advantageous in that it allows vignerons to grow and make their preferred wine style, wherever they choose, however it also necessitates stating the varietal on the label, as we can not rely on appellation laws to dictate what is grown, and where.
In particular focus this week are the 2016 Chardonnay, and the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot. It’s not possible to overstate the value in these two wines, and the quality (at any price point, let alone at $28).
2016 Woodlands ‘Wilyabrup Valley’ Chardonnay, Margaret River
“As usual, the nose here presents pristine stone fruit, crushed cashew and almond meal, salted preserved lemon and suggestions of red apple skins, all wrapped in lightly toasted French oak. The palate echoes the aromatic sentiments, throwing up additional flavours of yellow peach, pistachio and pink grapefruit. The flavours linger long after the wine has been swallowed, remaining true to their original expression and carrying you through to your next mouthful. Truly an incredible wine, most especially for the pricepoint. If you love Margaret River Chardonnay, this is NOT to be missed. 95 points, $28. A steal.”
2015 Woodlands ‘Wilyabrup Valley’ Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, Margaret River
“This was looked at over two tastings, and boy am I glad this was so. The first look showed concentrated cassis, blueberry, and classic Margaret River freshly turned earth. On second look (<24hrs later), the Wilyabrup characters of ripe red raspberry and eucalypt emerged alongside the cassis and earth, combining to make an incredibly complex wine. The palate shows typical Woodlands structure and spice, with lingering, fine grained and yet supple/chewy tannins. With more than enough plump fruit and spice to delight the most casual of drinkers. Delve a bit further, and the structure, regionality, oak handling and tannins will have the most serious of observers glancing from glass to receipt in astonishment. A wonderful gateway wine into the wonders of Clementine, Margaret, and the flagship cabernet - all of which deserve a place in a the cellar. 95 points and $28”